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The proper APA Style reference for this manuscript is:
BRYANT, L. L. (2006). Self Esteem and Aggressive Behavior: Who’s More Aggressive?. National Undergraduate Research Clearinghouse, 9. Available online at http://www.webclearinghouse.net/volume/. Retrieved July 20, 2018 .

Self Esteem and Aggressive Behavior: Who’s More Aggressive?
LEA L. BRYANT
MISSOURI WESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF PSYCHOLOGY

Sponsored by: Brian Cronk (cronk@missouriwestern.edu)
ABSTRACT
Aggressive people often use anger, aggressive body language, or other threatening behavior to bully and dominate other people. The purpose of my study was to find out whether individuals with high self esteem were more aggressive than individuals with low self esteem. Sixty eight participants from Missouri Western State University were given a survey. The survey included Rosenberg’s self esteem scale (1965) and an aggression questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992). Anger, physical aggression, hostility, and verbal aggression were the aggressive behaviors measured. Of the four aggressive behaviors hostility was the only one to show a strong negative correlation with self esteem.

INTRODUCTION
Researchers in the past have always indicated that individuals with low self esteem are more aggressive than individuals with high self esteem (Gondolf, 1985 as cited in Baumeister, Bushman, & Campbell, 2000). The study done by Perez, Vohs, and Joiner (2005) found that both high and low self-esteem were associated with self reported physical aggression. In this study they surveyed 140 undergraduate students (53 men and 87 women). The participants were informed that they would be completing questionnaires about their personality, emotions, and self concept. The results indicated extremes of both – seeing oneself more favorably or less favorably than others do were related to reports of aggressive tendencies. These findings inform social psychological theories of aggression, especially regarding cases in which self-views diverge from interpersonal reality. The link between self-regard and aggression is best described by the theory of threatened egotism. Threatened egotism is defined as defending a highly favorable view of self against someone who seeks to undermine or discredit that view (Baumeister, Bushman, & Campbell, 2006). In their study they concluded that the long standing view that low self esteem causes violence has been shown to be wrong, and the opposite view implicating high self esteem is too simple. At best, a highly favorable self –view constitutes a risk factor for turning violent, in response to one’s favorable view of self has been disputed or undermined by others. Baumeister, Smart, and Boden, (1996) found that self regard is linked to violence. For example, murderers, rapists, wife beaters, youth gangs, aggressive nations, and other categories of violent people are marked by strongly held views of their own superiority. In several of the studies I have found they take about a personality by the name of narcissism. Narcissism is defined as having an inflated sense of entitlement, low empathy toward others, fantasies of personal greatness, a belief that ordinary people cannot understand. The study done by Papps, and Benjamin (1998) found that individuals with both high self esteem and narcissism reported especially high tendencies to experience and express anger (aggression) then those with high self esteem and low narcissism. In the discussion part of the study the researchers indicated that whether a person has low or high self esteem levels if they have exceptionally high levels of narcissism then they are more prone to aggressive behavior.There have been several studies that link a person’s self esteem level as a predictor for aggressive behavior. The purpose of this study is to see whether individuals with high self esteem are more aggressive, than individuals with low self esteem.


METHOD

PARTICIPANTS
Data were collected from 68 undergraduate students at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, Missouri. Of the participants 16 were enrolled in an Intermediate Psychology class and 52 were enrolled in an Introductory Psychology class.

MATERIALS
Participants in this study were asked to take a self esteem survey (Rosenberg 1965) and an aggression questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992).

PROCEDURE
Subjects were given a paper survey containing two sections. The first section was a self esteem scale (Rosenberg, 1965) consisting of 10 questions where the subjects were asked to rate the degree to which the statement was like them or not. The second section was an aggression questionnaire (Buss & Perry, 1992). This section consisted of 25 characteristics questions, and the individuals were to rate the degree to which the characteristic was like them or not.


RESULTS
A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between self esteem and anger. A weak correlation that was not significant was found (r(66) = -.06,p>.05). Self esteem is not related to anger in aggression. A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between self esteem and physical aggression. A weak correlation that was not significant was found (r(66) = .007,p>.05). Self esteem is not related to physical aggression in aggression. A Pearson correlation coefficient was calculated for the relationship between subjects’ self esteem level and hostility. A moderate negative correlation was found (r(66) = -.389,p = .001), indicating a significant linear relationship between the two variables. A Pearson correlation was calculated examining the relationship between self esteem and verbal aggression. A weak correlation that was not significant was found (r(66) = .048,p>.05).Self esteem is not related to verbal aggression in aggression.


DISCUSSION
This study shows that out of the four aggressive behaviors; Anger, physical aggression, hostility, and verbal aggression, hostility was the only one to show a significant correlation with self esteem. My hypothesis was not supported by this study that individuals with high self esteem are more aggressive than individuals with low self esteem. Still, the findings in my study are consistent with pervious research done by Baumeister, Bushman, and Campbell (2006). The study concluded that the long standing view that low self esteem causes violence has been shown to be wrong, and the opposite view implicating high self esteem is too simple. Another issue that might have affected my results is college students are not reliable subjects (Jaffe, & Eric, 2005). Although college students are the most convenient subjects there findings do not hold true to the general population because they are not a representative sample. College students are not as aggressive as the general population because aggressive behavior is frown a pond in the college setting. For future work, it is recommended to include neutral responses on the self esteem scale. Many participants found themselves having to choose a response that was closest to how they would react, instead of exactly. It is also recommended that a larger sample size be used for generalization reasons. The current study included a sample size of 68 individuals, but a larger sample may have yielded different results.


REFERENCES
Baumeister, R.F., Brad, J., & Campbell, W.K. (2000). Self-esteem, narcissism, and aggression: Does violence result from low self-esteem of from threatened egotism. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 9, 26-29.Baumeister, R., Smart, L., & Boden, J. (1996). Relation of threatened egotism to violence and aggression: The dark side of high self-esteem. Psychological Review,103, 5-33.Buss, A. H., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression questionnaire. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, 452-459.Jaffe, Eric. (2005). How random is that. American Psychological Society, 9, 17-30.Papps, B.P., & O’Carrol, R.E. (1998). Extremes of self-esteem and narcissism and the expression of anger and aggression. Aggressive Behavior, 24, 421-438.Perez, M., Vohs, K.D., Joiner, Jr., & Thomas, E. Discrepancies between self and other esteem as correlates of aggression. Journal of Social & Clinical Psychology, 24, 607-620.Rosenberg, Morris. (1965). Society and the Adolescent Self- Image. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press.


APPENDIX A
Please circle the one that best describes you.

Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

1. I feel that I’m a person of worth, at least on an equal basis with others.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

2. I feel that I have a number of good qualities.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

3. All in all, I am inclined to feel that I am a failure.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

4. I am able to do things as well as most other people.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

5. I feel I do not have much to be proud of.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

6. I take a positive attitude toward my self.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

7. On the whole, I am satisfied with myself.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

8. I wish I could have more respect for myself. Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree 9. I certainly feel useless at times.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree

10. At times I think I am no good at all.Strongly agree Agree Disagree Strongly disagree


APPENDIX B
Please circle the one that best describes you.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

1. Some of my friends think I am a hothead.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

2. If I have to resort to violence to protect my rights, I will.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

3. When people are especially nice to me, I wonder what they want.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

4. I tell my friends openly when I disagree with them.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

5. I have become so mad that I have broken things.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

6. I can’t help getting into arguments when people disagree with me.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

7. I wonder why sometimes I feel so bitter about things.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

8. Once in a while, I can’t control the urge to strike another person.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

9. I am an even-tempered person.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

10. I am suspicious of overly friendly strangers.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

11. I have threatened people I know.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

12. I flare up quickly but get over it quickly.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

13. Given enough provocation, I may hit another person.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

14. When people annoy me, I may tell them what I think of them.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

15. I am sometimes eaten up with jealousy.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

16. I can think of no good reason for ever hitting a person.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

17. At times I feel I have gotten a raw deal out of life. Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

18. I have trouble controlling my temper. Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

19. When frustrated, I let my irritation show.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

20. I sometimes feel that people are laughing at me behind my back.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

21. I often find myself disagreeing with people.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

22. If somebody hits me, I hit back.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

23. I sometimes feel like a powder keg ready to explode.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

24. Other people always seem to get the breaks.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

25. There are people who push me so far that we came to blows.Very Uncharacteristic Uncharacteristic Neither Characteristic Very Characteristic

Submitted 12/7/2006 12:40:22 PM
Last Edited 12/7/2006 12:53:43 PM
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